Ex-Purdue president taking over science foundation

Former Purdue University president France Cordova says she's looking forward to starting work as the new director of the National Science Foundation.

The U.S. Senate this week confirmed President Barack Obama's nomination of Cordova to lead the federal agency that has a $7 billion budget to award grants for scientific research around the country.

Cordova told the Journal & Courier that her five years leading Purdue and 20 years in the University of California system showed her how important the science foundation's funding is for researchers.

Cordova stepped down in 2012 as Purdue's president. She also has been chairwoman of the Smithsonian Institution's Board of Regents. She is an astrophysicist who was NASA's chief scientist in the 1990s.

Purdue received nearly $91 million from the science foundation in 2012-13.

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